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Most companies today have deployed the cloud in one form or another, but some firms many not have the resources to invest in—or the technical expertise to handle—all the cloud applications they need.

In a recent survey, IT professionals said eight in 10 customers need professional services to get started with the cloud. The study, conducted by Enterprise Management Associates on behalf of iLand, shows the top cloud computing challenges are pricing, performance, support, downtime, management and scalability.

IT distributors can help. They have a big role to play in providing cloud services and are stepping up to the plate. Many are forging new alliances and developing new capabilities to build out their cloud businesses.

Case in point is a distribution agreement Tech Data and EarthLink announced this week. Under the agreement, which adds to the recent string of announcements in Tech Data’s TDCloud unit, the company will offer EarthLink’s suite of managed cloud and support services to solution providers in the United States.

TechData will provide EarthLink’s Tech Care support service, an outsourced white-label help desk as a service for managed service providers and VARs. The distributor will also offer EarthLink’s Cloud Workspace desktop as a service (DaaS), which will enable solution providers and MSPs to deliver a configurable virtual desktop environment. Cloud Workspace is designed to offer secure access for end users from anywhere on any device via the Internet or private connections.

The deal is aimed at enabling solutions providers to expand their cloud and managed services portfolios, said Stacy Nethercoat, vice president, product marketing at TDCloud at Tech Data. “Adding help desk services is important because many of our partners don’t have the resources to invest in them themselves,” Nethercoat told Channel Insider.

The agreement also makes virtual desktop infrastructure technology available to small and midsize businesses, which can “take advantage of many modern versions of business applications such as collaboration and email apps,” she said.

Making cloud versions of business productivity applications available to resource-constrained companies is a good thing. Many of these firms would agree that the cloud is IT’s future, but they find it hard to deploy these apps on their own.

In addition to Tech Data, distributors, such as Arrow, Avnet, Ingram Micro and others, are stepping in—in a big way—to address growing demand for cloud services. Opportunities in this space are abundant for cloud service providers, and that is also a good thing.